Stratos Jets Highlights the Value of Working with IS-BAO Operators In Light of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl Tragedy

Tragedy struck last week when a Yakovlev (Yak-42) charter jet carrying the professional ice hockey team and staff of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), crashed near Yaroslavl, Russia. The ice hockey team was flying on the Russian airliner to Minsk, Belarus for the start of the KHL 2011-12 season. Shortly after takeoff, the Yak-42 failed to clear the runway, struck a tower mast, and crashed 1.2 miles away from Tunoshna Airport. Out of all 45 passengers onboard the charter aircraft, only one hockey player and one crew member survived. The surviving hockey player, Alexander Galimov, later died from severe burns sustained in the crash. 

After the horrific Lokomotiv Yaroslavl accident, it is understandable that you may have some fears or concerns about flying on a private jet aircraft. At Stratos Jet Charters, we believe it is our job as industry experts to provide you with our professional opinion of the crash. Based on several reports, we know that the Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK), Russia’s governing aviation authority, has ordered an investigation into the accident. As of today, the Investigative Committee believes that pilot error and mechanical malfunction were the two most likely causes of the accident.

If either is the case, we at Stratos Jets believe that the accident could have been prevented through recurrent pilot training or routine aircraft maintenance, which is required of all US-based operators by federal law. It is in our professional opinion that the accident stemmed from a lack of preventive safety measures, which is a common occurrence with foreign, non-IS-BAO operators.

If you are a frequent follower of Stratos Jets blog or newsletters, you may have read some of our past articles that highlight the peak safety levels of private aviation. A majority of these articles are in reference to the stringent safety standards of US-based flight operations. When you travel aboard, it is important for you to understand that most international operators do not follow the same safety regulations as US-based operations. Such was the case with the Yak-42 operator – Yak Service – that operated in accordance with the Interstate Aviation Committee’s body of laws.

Here in the U.S., all of our flight operations — whether private or commercial — are governed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Department of Transportation (DOT). These two federal agencies have established notoriously strict regulations that exceed those of easterly nations, such as Russia. In the U.S., charter operators adhere to the Part 135 section of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs), while airlines comply with Part 121 regulations. Each section of the FARs outlines the standards for which aircraft safety – operating, maintenance, and licensing – are measured. Because of the stringency of these requirements, the FAA and DOT have created the safest aircraft operators in the world.

In 2002, the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) was formally introduced and made available to the business aviation community at the European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibit (EBACE). IS-BAO is a code of best practices that helps international flight departments achieve the same level of safety and professionalism. IS-BAO-certification is now recognized as the industry standard for international charter operation. Operators that are IS-BAO-certified are frequently cited as the safest and most professional aircraft operators in the world.

With our deepest condolences, we send our thoughts and prayers to the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl victims and their families. In light of this tragedy, we ask that all passengers traveling on non-US registered aircraft verify that their operator complies with IS-BAO standards. While no aircraft or operator is immune to harm, operators that comply with the strict covenants of the IS-BAO are better able to ensure your personal safety. At Stratos Jets, we will continue to work with out approved vendors, and IS-BAO operators for international requests, to provide you with the high level of safety assurance that you have come to expect from the Stratos Jets brand.

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